Beer Review 0424: Stone RuinTen Imperial IPA
Exactly one year ago today, I reviewed Stone’s Ruination Tenth Anniversary IPA, and awarded it 98 points. Ruination Tenth Anniversary was produced in celebration of Stone’s Ruination IPA, one of the first Imperial IPAs to be bottled and widely distributed in the United States. I rated Ruination, which Stone says is a “liquid poem to the glory of the hop” 93 points.
Ruination Tenth Anniversary was an amped-up version of regular Ruination — at 10.8% ABV (alcohol by volume), the beer was brewed with FIVE POUNDS of hops per barrel! The hops used were Columbus and Centennial, while dry-hopping introduced Citra and even more Centennial. The IBUs (International Bitterness Units) pegged out at a massive 110. I was so floored by the beer that I named it third on my Top 25 of 2012 list.
Well, apparently I wasn’t alone in my love for the beer. Stone (Escondido, California) have decided they will make Ruination Tenth Anniversary a yearly limited release — renaming it RuinTen IPA, the beer keeps the same recipe and dry hopping schedule as before. Everything is exactly the same except for the name and bottle art. So, why review this beer again? Well…beer can vary by batch, and technically this is a different beer since it has a different name…
But I’m not going to kid you. Ever since I had this beer last year, I’ve been dreaming of having it again. This is an impressive brew, and I couldn’t NOT review it again — know that I’m going into this review with high expectations, expecting RuinTen to match the same feeling I had one year ago…
The pour rustled up a small, creamy, slightly off-white head that had lasting power and was easily regenerated when swirled in the glass. The beer was golden-orange in color, but more towards amber when held out of the light; the body had a slight haze to it, and was clear, featuring no particles or sediment. Lacing was excellent, leaving behind thin, wispy sheets of foam.
Pop the crown on this bottle and you’re immediately going to smell a ton of hops. RuinTen is heavy on the tropical fruits; think: mango, pineapple, papaya — much like Hawaiian Punch juice concentrate. While the hops are heavy, there’s also a significant malt backing, and it’s quite sweet, featuring our old friend caramel. But that malt backing does a phenomenal job propping up all the hops and alcohol here: dark, dank notes of pine, classic grapefruit, and a cattiness that intensifies as the beer warms. There’s also fleshy orange and dry orange peel. And the alcohol is here, not overwhelming, but a nice team player that reminds you this beer does indeed pack a punch.
The first thing you notice on the taste is how astringent this brew is; talk about a palate wrecker or enamel ripper! This drink rustles over your taste buds like a tongue scraper, but it also delivers a truck load of initially sweet pineapple, mango, and peaches; the booziness is immediately felt but that sharp taste combines excellently with a minty flavor that lingers throughout the taste. By the finish, it has turned moderately to heavily bitter, and when clicking the tongue to the roof your mouth, there’s plenty of dark pine, grapefruit, and menthol lozenge. It’s crazy how the mint flavor in this beer turns into a nearly overwhelming burst of HELLO, PAY ATTENTION to me! Wow. What a ride. RuinTen is full-bodied, with a medium, foamy, and dry mouthfeel, and it leaves me nearly breathless after each sip.
If you couldn’t tell by my gushing preamble, my gushing review from last year, and my even more so gushing review this year — you must get this beer, and you must get it now. Hop lovers, your beer life isn’t complete until you try this “stage dive into a mosh pit of hops,” as the bottle calls it… I’m really close to a perfect score here. A classic now, and for many more years to come, hopefully. Thanks, Stone, for giving this a repeat play.
Stone RuinTen Imperial IPA, 99 points. Price: $7.49 US for one 22 oz. bomber size bottle.